Journal and Conference Papers

Strength Enhancement and Application Development of Carbon Foam for Thermal Protection Systems (PDF, 0.6mb) - Carbon foam is recognized as having great potential as a component within hybrid (rainbow) Thermal Protection Systems for low angle re-entry vehicles. In this concept, the carbon foam supports a ceramic matrix composite surface by providing selectable insulating or thermally conductive dual-use properties. An initial barrier to implementation was the inherent weakness and friability of the carbon foams. Under a MDA funded SBIR program, Ceramic Composites Inc. has demonstrated the ability to increase the compressive modulus by 2½ times through the treatment of the carbon foam ligaments with a uniform silicon carbide coating, serving to enhance strength and reduce friability, with minimal influence upon the thermal properties. The process is scaleable to leading edge sizes using commercially available equipment. An overview of the technical approach will be presented, along with the envelope of enhanced material properties achieved under the program.



Transparent Spinel Development (PDF, 1mb) - The optical and mechanical properties of polycrystalline MgA12O4 spinel make this material of interest for transparent armor and for window and dome applications in the 0.3jtm to 5.5gm range. Spinel was briefly produced commercially, and qualified for a range of dome and window applications in the early 1990's. Since 1993 however, there has been no commercial producer and consequently the interest in the application of spinel has waned. This paper summarizes development efforts by Technology Assessment and Transfer (TA&T) to fabricate transparent spinel with high optical quality for both transparent armor, and a selection of window and dome applications. A cooperative research and development agreement between TA&T and the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is focussed at optimizing processing parameters to maximize strength and transparency while minimizing the costs for fabrication by the hot-press/HIP approach. Present interest is in fabricating large armor panels of spinel up to 1 5 inches square and 0.5 inches thick, and in the fabrication of thinner windows and domes with the view to establishing TA&T as a commercial supplier of spinel in the near future.



Fabrication of Large Thick Panels of Transparent Spinel (PDF, 0.5mb) - The use of magnesium aluminate spinel for optical windows, domes and armor has previously been investigated for a wide range of specific applications. The material properties rival that of ALON and sapphire, although there exists the potential for the fabrication of larger parts at significantly lower costs. The ability to fabricate transparent spinel by hot-pressing into large plates has gained interest for the fabrication of low-cost transparent armor for a range of applications. The present paper describes development efforts that are underway to fabricate spinel panels up to 22 inches in diameter and 0.5inches thick. A 600 ton press is being installed at a facility in Millersville, MD that will be able to fabricate 22 inch diameter parts by late 2002. In the future, this press will potentially be able to fabricate 40 inch diameter plates with minimal changes. There is additional interest in these plates for large IR windows.

Ta&T news

TA&T Part of Team to Improve EMP Protection

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)/SCC announces the beginning of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with Instant Access Networks, LLC (IAN) and its subcontractors as of March 28, 2016 entitled, “Accelerating Society-wide EMP Protection of Critical Infrastructure and Micro-grids”. DTRA’s request for proposals (RFP) was an invitation to small businesses to participate in a commercial R&D program to create EMP protected micro grids for critical infrastructure needed both on and off military bases and other defense critical infrastructure.  The need was explained by DTRA as follows: “An electromagnetic (EM) attack (nuclear electromagnetic pulse [EMP] or non-nuclear EMP [e.g., high-power microwave, HPM]) has the potential to degrade or shut down portions of the electric power grid important to the DoD….  Restoring the commercial grid from the still functioning regions may not be possible or could take weeks or months.” 


A key task on this contract is to demonstrate how to accelerate the adoption of EMP-protected critical infrastructure and microgrids among civilian institutions that need to operate in island mode during a prolonged power outage.   These critical suppliers to military bases include water utilities, hospitals, and emergency communications.  The final report would include proposals for additional research in the improvement of component technologies that comprise an EMP-protected microgrid such as EMP shielding, energy generation, energy storage and energy savings technology.  Those improvements can lead to performance and cost advantages that could make these microgrids competitive with grid provided power in some areas of the country and more easily funded in every location.


IAN set its own goal to gather collaborators who will fund EMP protected microgrids for water utilities, hospitals and emergency operations centers so that they don’t have to find funds out of their capital budgets.  Fairfax Water, a subcontractor to IAN in this contract, is a great example because of its critical role to many defense critical infrastructure applications in the national capital region and because of the attractive electricity rates it enjoys.  Fairfax Water supplies Fort Belvoir and the surrounding areas with 163 million gallons of water per day.  Though Fairfax Water  lies outside the base, it is essential for base operations but likely to be vulnerable to  EMP because of its dependence on civilian power grids that are not protected from EMP even though the local utility in this instance is otherwise extremely reliable.  Protecting civilian infrastructure such as Fairfax Water is just as important as protecting the critical applications on the base.


IAN developed EMP-protected microgrids that included solar, wind and diesel power generation and control rooms independently tested to exceed military standards for EMP by 1000 fold.  IAN subcontractors include Technology Assessment and Transfer (TA&T), a materials science R&D firm that will provide technical assistance on electromagnetic shielding materials and components of energy storage systems; DC Fusion/ Power Analytics that will provide support for direct current microgrids and modeling software for the design and management of microgrids; Jaxon Engineering and Maintenance who will provide EMP testing support and EMP shielding manufacturing guidance; and Fairfax Water, who will provide water utility management guidance.

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Research & Manufacturing Facilities

Advanced Ceramics & Coatings
3D Printing of Ceramics
Thermal Management

1110 Benfield Blvd., Suite Q
Millersville, MD 21108
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Spinel & Optical Ceramics
215 Najoles Road
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Memberships and Certifications

U.S. Small Business Administration certified
Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB)

Alliance Member of the National Center
for Defence Manufacturing and Machining

Member of the Electro-Optics Alliance